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Sunday, January 20, 2008


JUDITH’S WILD RUSH , a multiple Canadian champion (and I have one of his halters!) ran a heroic race yesterday in the Aqueduct Handicap. The grey 7yo was coming off a huge workout in 57 and change and a 2nd place finish in the Native Dancer Stakes and he was sharp.

Under Chuck Lopez, the gelding got locked in a mad pace duel with Pink Viper and the pair were far ahead of the rest of the field down the backstretch.

Into the stretch, Judith’s Wild Rush was by himself but ANGLIANA was bearing down on him, so was 10yo Evening Attire. He lost the lead and then somehow lost 2nd by an inch at the wire.

The winner, a Giant’s Causeway horse with spotty form and a recent loss at odds on in an allowance race at Philly Park, is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, certainly the premier conditioner in N.A. today.

Judith’s Wild Rush is just over $50,000 away from $1 million in earnings. He’s a Kentucky bred by Wild Rush.

Speaking of EVENING ATTIRE, you have to check out his website that someone worked very hard on..

PARRIS HILL, a Canadian-bred grey filly by A.P. Indy out of Felicita by Rubiano (thus a ½ sister to TAKE CHARGE LADY), won her maiden at Fair Grounds yesterday in an off-the-turf event. It was the 4yo filly’s 2nd career start and she was 1st time Lasix. Owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk, Parris Hill was 2nd as the favourite in her debut at Woodbine in December.

Incredibly, the race was a bit of a mess for her new rider, Julien Leparoux, who rode for trainer Mark Casse – Patrick Husbands was off of his mounts.

Leparoux lost his whip at the top of the stretch and then stood up at the sixteenth pole but the filly still won by a neck.

Her time of 1:48 and change was slow but the Beyer of 73 was okay and perhaps if she was asked and ridden out, she would have gone faster.


THOROUGHBLOG FRIENDS, 5280 Stable, won an allowance race at Turfway yesterday with its recent purchase, Astaire. Congrats guys!

DENIS OF CORK is an interesting 3yo, undefeated in 2 starts. He won with an 82 Beyer Figure yesterday at Fair Grounds after a wide trip all the way. He’s by Harlan’s Holiday out of an Unbridled mare.

This is purely subjective – but of the tracks that we watched yesterday, there aren’t many worse than TURFWAY (and I have not made a bet at that track this year)

1 – The KICKBACK is horrible right now, they are running in a snowstorm of Polytrack. Ugly.

2- The jockeys are terrible there, they look bad and they move too soon every race

3- There are other aspects of watching the races there that are also hard to take but I’ll stop now.

Canadian-bred HANDSOME BLUE, likely a Queen’s Plate eligible, had a decent 2nd career start at Gulfstream yesterday. The Touch Gold – Class colt, owned and bred by Stronach Stables and trained by Brian Lynch had a lovely trip for most of the race but was also surrounded by rivals. He made a nice bid around the turn but the favourite ELYSIUM FIELDS, darted up the rail and took off to win by 8 lengths.

Handsome Blue battled hard and was 3rd and he earned a 73 Beyer Figure. His form right now looks a lot like his brother’s from last year, HIGH ACT, who was also Plate hopeful before he was injured. Handsome Blue was an $80,000 buy-back.

The winner, an El Prado colt, ran an 83 Beyer in his win.

MOUNTAINEER last night – 5th race, OURTIMETODANCE won again. The Ontario bred by Mark of Esteem is owned by Two Five Five Racing and trained by Stacey Cooper. The gelding has won 3 of his last 5 races – yesterday he won for $5,000. Canadians were 2nd and 3rd in the race – Salvo for Mike Newell and Hero of the North for Bruno Schickedanz.

Schickedanz and his trainer Mark Fournier won the next race with PRETTY SUNRISE, a Florida bred, for $5,000.

Owner/trainer SCOTT FAIRLIE won TWO at Philly Park yesterday: with BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, who is trained there by Maggie Couse. The 7yo horse won for $5,000 and was claimed; the other winner was the mare STAR VALLEY (Peaks and Valleys) who won a starter allowance.

LOVE THE HONESTY! The Equibase chart caller for Philly Park had a near-book to write about Augustin Stable’s MINUTE OF FAME winning the 4th race as the horse had some trouble:

“MINUTE OF FAME” was between foes, checked sharply on the far turn, continued to race under steadying restraint on the turn, finally found an opening between foes in early stretch, took command and drew off, clearly best”

The short comment that will appear in the horse’s form next time: BRUTAL TRIP, CLEAR.

FOLKS IN THE NOBLETON, ONTARIO AREA should check out ARBOUR restaurant and Sports Lounge. Located on Highway 27 just a minute north of Nobleton, the restaurant is fine dining, the sports lounge is downstairs with talls tables and a bar and lots of TV's.
The owner is Ron Delmas Jr., whose father Ron owned FIELDSTONE FARMS.

Ontario HBPA Coukos quotes..
From the Blood-Horse..

No Joke: Pricing Changes Planned

by Tom LaMarra
Date Posted: January 8, 2008
Last Updated:
January 9, 2008

Despite their oftentimes dry, complicated, and repetitive subject matter, pari-mutuel industry conferences and conventions can be entertaining and informative. The recent meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States was no exception.

On Jan. 5, officials gathered in Arizona focused on pari-mutuel pricing but ventured into other areas. Stalled or failed efforts to find solutions have become a running joke.

“The racing industry has a habit of setting fire to its hair and trying to put it out with a hammer,” said Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

“We are dysfunctional,” said Nick Coukos, executive director of the Ontario Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and secretary/treasurer of the National HBPA. “We have been for a long time and probably will continue to be. For whatever reason, we can’t get our act together.”

“My experience in 20 years is the worst enemy of the pari-mutuel industry is the pari-mutuel industry,” said Florida Sen. Steven Geller, who suggested the legislature could give the industry a $100-million tax break, and its factions would do nothing but fight over how to split the money.

The zingers drew laughs and chuckles. But they did nothing to hide the fact the pari-mutuel industry--mainly its politics and policies--is hard to comprehend.

“I was taking lots of notes and getting cards so I can contact people later,” said Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo of Kentucky, where casino gambling at racetracks is expected to be addressed by lawmakers this year. “It’s even more complicated than I thought. And to hear that on-track betting makes up only 10% (of total handle) is frightening.”

With 85% to 90% of handle now generated “off” track, the industry is attempting to bring its pricing model up to date. And though the system is in disarray, there are hints some racetracks and horsemen’s groups have a new model in mind and plan to implement it at least track by track or state by state.

Scott Daruty, president of TrackNet Media Group, a signal-buying and -selling entity formed by Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment Corp., said the exchange of signals between racetracks still accounts for most of the handle in North America. That model--at least when signals are exchanged between Thoroughbred tracks--probably won’t change much, he said.

Based on a blended takeout rate of 20%, the host track gets 3% and the receiving track 17%. When signals are exchanged, the percentages are reversed, though the track with the superior product and larger handle may be shortchanged in the deal.

“It may be the wrong price, but it’s cutting both ways,” Daruty said.

So the focus will be on “non-track simulcast outlets,” Daruty said. TrackNet Media has placed more than 1,000 wagering outlets into five or six categories for the purpose of establishing tiered pricing, he said.

It goes beyond account wagering services, casino race books, and off-track betting parlors operated by entities other than racetracks. There is a desire to charge non-Thoroughbred outlets such as Standardbred, Quarter Horse, and Greyhound tracks higher host fees.

“We believe host fees need to be increased,” said Daruty, who predicted such outlets could end up paying host fees of 5% to 8% for Thoroughbred signals. He suggested a resulting drop in revenue from 17% to roughly 12% per dollar wouldn’t damage them that greatly.

Coukos, who is involved in wagering issues for the National HBPA, said the revenue contribution that comes from the $8 billion bet on Thoroughbred races at other Thoroughbred tracks is considered fair. “We can live with it,” he said.

But the $5 billion wagered on Thoroughbred racing at “NTBAs”--non-Thoroughbred betting agencies--isn’t producing the desired revenue, Coukos said. Of the about $1 billion in revenue produced by NTBAs, only about $175 million is returned to Thoroughbred racing; more than $877 million in revenue could be generated through pricing changes, he said.

Such changes could prove unpopular and difficult to make given the fact some states such as Ohio and New Jersey have laws that basically protect other breeds or control rates.

“Thoroughbred tracks need to change their fees,” Coukos said. “And no less than one-third of total takeout should go to purses.”

Daruty said pricing isn’t the only issue. He said if pricing is tied to total handle, revenue is being lost because of differences in pari-mutuel takeout rates in various states. For instance, a track currently is charged a standard host fee even though its takeout rate on win wagers is 17% and takeout rate on trifecta bets is 30%.

A new model would base host fees on takeout. “We should create a model based on takeout where the host fee expands or contracts based on takeout,” Daruty said.

He also suggested different ways of calculating state pari-mutuel taxes could increase revenue for tracks and horsemen.

Gary Sproule, chief executive officer of account wagering provider, again offered his company’s pricing template of one-third for the host track, one-third for horsemen, and one-third for the account wagering company. He also said failure to see the big picture is a concern.

“There is very little growth in handle,” Sproule said. “The model needs to ensure growth of the pie, not just a percentage of the pie. We don’t have alignment of key interest groups. We’re just fighting over the same pie.”

Legislators for the most part advocate a hands-off approach when it comes to pari-mutuel pricing. Horsemen’s associations, meanwhile, have formed a coalition called the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group, which is attempting to improve the economic model in the industry.


  • At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To quote Jen "and I have not made a bet at that track this year" - referring to Turfway. With Astaire paying $19.20 to win on Friday night maybe you should have... :) Have a great weekend and thanks for the shoutout.

  • At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Track takeouts need to be 10% for everything (still slightly higher than slots).
    On simulcast wagering, the fee should be 3.0% for every track.
    Horsemen should get 3.5% and the track (including state taxes) should get the remaining 3.5%.
    This should be industry standard.
    On their own product with their own home market customers, the tracks (including state taxes and HBPA/CPMA) should split 5% with the horsemen getting the other 5%.
    Monies bet on your product from other sources should be split the same way as well.

    If tracks want to attract new players, get money back that is being bet on Betfair and offshore, and even online Poker, takeouts need to be be vastly reduced. Their overall revenues are guaranteed to go up as a result of this. But the stone age execs are too moronic to get it.

  • At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Jen; Here are my 10 stallions for your contest:

    Action This Day
    Friends Lake
    Lion Heart
    Smarty Jones
    Strong Hope

    Bob Summers, Buffalo News

  • At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Turfway is one of those tracks I've never been able to figure out. I don't play it. But I happened to catch some of the races on HPI Saturday while I was waiting for Santa Anita to start. That is just about the worst kickback I've ever seen. I'm not surprised they cancelled the remainder of the card.

  • At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    the comment about takeouts being too high is exactly correct,especially with the dozens of races we are betting on.its so difficult to have a decent winning day's a hidden takeout so people dont even think about it,but after a while you realize that nearly every day is a losing day,and it becomes less you take up poker instead and the track loses a customer.the question is whether to take peoples money over a long period of time or grab it all as quickly as they can.i'm a 40 year racing fan and my other complaint is odds changing at the 3/8 pole.after what happened at the breedrs cup a few years ago,you would think that they would fix this so that the odds at post time are fixed.they just dont give a xxxx.

  • At 1:57 PM, Blogger bullring said…

    I agree. Turfway is horrible.

  • At 12:05 PM, Blogger Baconeater said…

    Anon 12:21, many computer programs for big bettors allow them to bet at 30 seconds or less to post. That is when value can be best determined.
    By the time the betting hub gets all the last minute bets in, it takes a good 10-20 seconds for the final odds to show up after the race has started.
    There still are some problems with bets going in after the bell rings, but I think that has been addressed recently. I'm also not sure if one can cancel a ticket a little after the bell goes too. I know it was common practice before, and it definitely could affect the odds if the bet was large enough.

  • At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    When it comes to openess and integrity,problems need to be resolved,not just addressed.I see odds changing 30 or 40 seconds into a race.It's unacceptable.Casinos dont allow betting in craps or Roulette several seconds before the roll,to protect themselves.In racing the tracks let it go because it increase the handle,but it looks bad and it undermines credibility in the whole product.Cut off betting 20 seconds before the off,if that is what it takes to finalize the odds.Odds changing in running is not the good for the sport.


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